May

Statement by Ashref Ismail, Executive Manager: Road Traffic Law Enforcement

2013-05-13 08:20
Ashref Ismail, Executive Manager: Enforcement Co-ordination & National Spokesperson Road Traffic Management Corporation.

As National Spokesperson of the Road Traffic Management Corporation, I wish the make the following statement regarding the allegations made by The Star newspaper of Thursday, 9 May 2013 and repeated on Friday, 10 May 2013. Essentially there are two issues that have been raised by The Star as information that has been leaked to them – that I have eight outstanding traffic fines against my name and that I am using a car with an expired disc and displaying false/fraudulent number plates. These allegations are taken very seriously by the Road Traffic Management Corporation given my public profile as well as the importance of the Enforcement Co-ordination Unit of which I am the head.

I currently have seven cars on my name, four of which are vintage vehicles of which three are in various stages of restoration. I have three ordinary vehicles licensed in my name; one which is used by my brother (a Toyota Yaris) and another by my wife (a Honda Accord). The third vehicle is a Land Rover Discovery 4 which I purchased, second-hand in February this year.

As soon as the story broke, I immediately requested for a full report of any traffic fines linked to my name from eNATIS and can confirm that are traffic fines in my name. After careful scrutiny of every individual fine I can reveal the following:

1. Fines 1 to 4: Peugeot 5008 (Registration number BF 63 KS GP)
Four of the fines are in linked to a Peugeot 5008  test car that were re-directed to me through the AARTO process as the fines emanated from Johannesburg. All four fines were for infringements that occurred on the 18 and 19 April 2012 at the same location (Marshall Street, Johannesburg) at 10h05 and 14h02 respectively. One set of fines were for “parked a vehicle on a public road in contravention of a road traffic sign’ and two were for “vehicle that was not registered and licensed or not licensed.’  So, same offences committed on two consecutive days at the same location. I can definitely confirm that I was not the owner or the driver of the Peugeot 5008 and through the AARTO driver nomination system have already requested for a re-direction of the four fines.

2. Fine 5: Land Rover Discovery 3 (Regsitration no: ASHREF GP)

This infringement occurred in Van der Walt Street, Pretoria on 30 March 2009 at 10h01 and was for “operating a vehicle at a speed of 96-100 km/h which is in excess of the general speed limit of 60 km/h which is applicable to that urban road.’ As this violation happened more than 4 years ago, we could not establish who the driver was at the time. What I can indicate is that I was not aware of this fine and only saw it when I made this enquiry. However the full penalty amount of R 1500.00 has been paid.

3. Fine 6: Jaguar XF (registration no: BM 70 BW GP)
This infringement occurred on 17 October 2012, at 11h32 in Jean Avenue, Lyttelton and can confirm that this car, a Jaguar sedan was driven by my wife. The car is a test car that belongs to Jaguar (SA).The infringement was for “operating a vehicle at a speed of 91 , 95 km/h which is in excess of the general speed limit of 60 km/h which is applicable to that urban road’. Again, I can indicate that I did not receive this fine either in person or by mail, but have already settled the full penalty of R 1250,00

4. Fine 7: Mercedes Benz  (Registration no: BW69TN GP)
This car is from my vintage collection and the infringement occurred on 12 September 2012 at 14h55 in Paul Kruger Street, Pretoria. The infringement was for “operating a vehicle at a speed of 101 , 105 km/h which is excess of the speed limit of 80 km/h as indicated in the prescribed manner on a road traffic sign.
Again when we cannot recall who was the driver at the time of the vio lation, however, I can indicate that I did not receive this fine either in person or by mail, but have settled the full penalty of R 750,00.

Fine 8: Honda Ballade (Registration no: FXK 116 GP)

This car was a gift to my son who subsequently sold it to buy another. The infringement occurred on 30 September 2010 at 11h53 in Laudium and the infringement was for “failed to license a vehicle with the appropriate registering authority.’ I have not seen this fine before and have settled it as well. I was supposed to ensure that he licenses the vehicle as I was still the registered owner of the vehicle. This was an oversight on my part and for that I would like to apologise to all South Africans and my employer and my colleagues for this oversight. It is a lesson for me and I will make sure that this does not recur.

Regarding the Land Rover with an expired disc and “invalid/fraudulent’ number plates:
I purchased this used car in February this year from a dealer in Roodepoort. The eNATIS tracking report indicates that the deal was concluded on 22 February 2013, but I only took delivery of the vehicle a week later and ordered personalized plates (ASHREF GP) to be fitted. I used the vehicle until around the 20 April 2013 when the 21-day grace period expired. Since I did not get a chance to collect and install the plates and the car was parked off.

According to the National Road Traffic Act: “Subject to the provisions of regulations 19 and 20, every motor vehicle in the Republic  shall, whether or not it is operated on a public road, be licensed by the owner of such motor vehicle, in accordance with provisions of this part, with the appropriate registering authority.’ This car was indeed licensed by the dealer in February as indicated by the eNATIS report. A week later it was registered with ASHREF GP as the registration number.  Because the personalized plates were not fitted, the car was parked off. According to the Act, if a car is not used on a public road it need not have number plates or a valid disc.

As a freelance motoring journalist I get to test driving a number of cars , sometimes up to three a week – and barely have the need to drive my personal cars.  The comments by Solly Maphumulo, of the Star, saying that I am guilty of operating a vehicle with fraudulent plates and suggesting that there is a similarity with another high profile case is unfortunate and highly damaging.

Her assertion that I’m acting criminally by displaying false/fake plates because I want avoid traffic fines is also unfortunate. If she had done her research thoroughly, then she would know that whether a car is registered in the original plates or the personalized plates, both numbers belong to the owner of the vehicle. If I was to get any camera speed fine for instance from any of the two plates, the fine will still be directed to me. This is puzzling because I have been made aware that Independent Newspapers and other colleagues internally, made an unauthorized enquiry on the eNatis on my name. It is apparent that all this information is at her disposal. She, her employer and my colleagues have violated my rights and I will be seeking legal counsel to see how I must hold them to account.

I have been in the road safety sector for twenty years having started as an entry level road safety officer and working my way up the ladder to my current post as the Head of Traffic Enforcement Co-ordination and also as RTMC Spokesperson. I remain committed to fighting the carnage on our roads. For me this is more than a job, it is a calling and I am absolutely passionate about road safety. I will not be derailed. If anything, I remain even more focused in ensuring that we work together to bring the 50% reduction in fatalities by 2020.

In conclusion I wish to thank the hundreds of people from around the country and many from across our seas who have been very supportive. However, my offer still stands that if there is a need for me to step down temporarily for the investigation to be concluded, I am ready to do so. I hope this debacle will not discourage South Africans to be vigilant on the roads and adhere to road rules in order to ensure their safety and that of others. I humbly appeal to them to do the right thing, whatever the outcome of this investigation will be.

Thank you.

Ashref Ismail,
Executive Manager: Enforcement Co-ordination & National Spokesperson
Road Traffic Management Corporation

Friday 10-05-2013: RTMC spokesman prepared to stand down in face of traffic fines scandal

In an interview with FleetWatch editor Patrick O'Leary hours after the report appeared, Ismail said he had written to the Minister of Transport and the Acting CEO of the RTMC saying he is willing to stand down while a thorough investigation is done into the matter.

In an interview with FleetWatch editor Patrick O’Leary hours after the report appeared, Ismail said he had written to the Minister of Transport and the Acting CEO of the RTMC saying he is willing to stand down while a thorough investigation is done into the matter.

Ashref Ismail, spokesman for the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), has offered to stand down until a full investigation into reports of him having a string of outstanding traffic fines against his name as well as operating a vehicle with invalid number plates and an expired license disc is completed. In a front page article in The Star yesterday (Thursday, May 9th), it was reported that Ismail , who is highly outspoken against speeding and other traffic violations – has eight traffic fines against his name and owes the Traffic Department R6 500 in fines.

According to The Star, five of these are outstanding and were issued between March 2009 and 2012. The traffic fines include speeding, driving an unlicensed vehicle, and parking in an unauthorised area.

In an interview with FleetWatch editor Patrick O’Leary just hours after the report appeared, Ismail said he had written to the Minister of Transport and the Acting CEO of the RTMC saying he is willing to stand down while a thorough investigation is done into the matter. “I welcome total and full scrutiny,’ he said, adding that “this is not just about Ashref Ismail’.

“There is an underlying smear campaign going on here (within the RTMC). We are aware of it. It is not anything new. It is just that it is now getting very dangerous by people who clearly do not have any proof. We are waiting for that proof and will deal with it when it comes.’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0VMyyVs2Ac READ THURSDAY 09-05-2013 ARTICLE IN ‘THE STAR’ HERE

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